Pokémon is a franchise that I will always hold near and dear to my heart. Perhaps it’s the fact that I spent so much of my youth collecting and bonding with the digital creatures. Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve seen the series evolve over the decades as I myself have grown up.
Or perhaps it’s because I simply refuse to try new things and consistently find myself going back to the same old games so I don’t have to learn anything new. Yeah, it’s probably that one.
Well, it looks as though I’m not the only person that keeps Pikachu and friends in high regard. It was recently revealed that Pokémon is now the biggest media franchise in the world. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that all of those Pokémon Trading Card packs I begged my parents to buy contributed to that just a bit.
Actually, those cards likely are one of the reasons the series is currently on top. As most of us know, Pokémon began as a game series in the late 90s with the release of Pokémon Red and Blue version (or Red and Green version in Japan). Yes, I realize I need to get out more.
However, it’s beyond the games where Pokémon seems to really rake in the cash. Outside of the main series (which continually sells millions with each new entry), Pokémon has a collectible trading card game, comics, a long-running anime series, and an extensive variety of toys. Oh, and there was that whole Pokémon Go phenomenon that happened to nearly make a billion dollars in its first year of release. And was the only reason I got a tan in 2016.
While the franchise’s wide variety of ways to generate cash makes a good deal of sense as to why it now champions the list of popular franchises, it’s much more surprising to look at the media icons it has beaten. Behind second place Hello Kitty is the always cash-flushed Star Wars franchise, which will slap its logo on everything from M&Ms to Gillette Razors.
Coming after that is Mickey Mouse at a disgraceful (at least for anything Disney-related) fourth place, followed by the mustachioed king of gaming himself, Mario. For a quick reference, this list of billion-dollar franchises includes two rodents, a cat in a dress, and an overall-clad Italian plumber. What a world we live in.
And, with the upcoming release of new games for the Nintendo Switch and new experiences such as Pokémon Quest hitting app stores, it looks like this gravy train isn’t slowing down any time soon. Gotta cash ‘em all!